San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 7th, 2010
Texas State alum named APA president

010610vasquezMelba J.T. Vasquez.

STAFF REPORT

Texas State alumna Melba J. T. Vasquez, a San Marcos native, was recently elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA) for 2011.

Vasquez graduated from Texas State in 1972 with a double major in English and political science. She then earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Texas. Vasquez taught middle school English and political science before becoming a psychologist and she maintains a private practice in Austin.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen to serve in the role of APA president,” Vasquez said. “Our association plays a central role in presenting psychology as the science of behavior. I will promote the benefits of psychological science to daily living and to helping with some of society’s challenges.”

In her psychotherapy practice, Vasquez treats clients from different cultures, consults and trains for organizations and provides forensic expertise. In scholarly work, Vasquez has authored or co-authored several book chapters and journal articles on ethics, multiculturalism, psychotherapy and the psychology of women.

Vasquez has focused on raising the visibility and participation of women and ethnic minorities in psychology, developing feminist and culturally competent services for women and minorities.

Vasquez has been active throughout her career in implementing ethical responsibility standards for psychologists. As a member of APA’s Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychologists (later re-named the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest), she helped spur APA to cancel its investments in South Africa during apartheid and raised awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Vasquez is currently on the APA Board of Directors. As APA-s first Latina president, she plans to make inroads with minority groups that are traditionally underserved by psychology.

“Strategies to promote coping and resilience for members of those groups are important to communicate to the public,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez has served as consulting editor to Professional Psychology: Research and Practice and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, both published by APA. She has been a member or chair of seven APA task forces and the president of two divisions, the Society of Counseling Psychology and the Society for the Psychology of Women.

Vasquez is also an APA fellow, a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology and a distinguished member of the National Academies of Practice. She is a past president of the Texas Psychological Association.

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